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June 6, 2002

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if there was a handy villain to blame for every situation? With today's technology I'm surprised someone has not built a computerized personal scape-goat that we can have at hand ready to go whenever we need to pass the buck and find some excuse for the bad things that happen to us. Does pinpointing the reason something bad happened, make it any easier to recover from the problem? One might argue that identifying the cause of the problem might prevent it from happening again, and I agree. But publicly lambasting the culprit doesn't allow us to go back in time and reverse the accident or resurrect our lost ones.

Well the witch hunt is on in the federal government's intelligence committee which is pointing fingers at the FBI and the CIA for intelligence lapses that allowed the September 11 terror attacks to occur.

It has been revealed that the FBI and CIA were aware of several of the terrorists that carried out the 911 attacks. For whatever reasons, leads and other investigative measures fell through the cracks allowing this terrible day to occur. Those folks have to live with it now. They must go on knowing their mistakes or oversights might be responsible for one of the most devastating events in recent history.

But having U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, jump-ing on the soapbox and stopping mid-sentence to pose for the camera as he publicly flogs our intelligence agencies, doesn't help much. Okay maybe it helps Sen. Shelby's political career, putting him in the limelight at the front of the line of a frustrated nation that want's a scapegoat for the tragedy. Instead it tears down the very agencies that we will now lean on the most to prevent these type of attacks in the future. Lets get these folks to work doing their jobs instead of spending months giving testimony in some Senate hearing. It's a waste of time to work on placing the blame when we should instead be striving to prevent a repeat performance.

Instead of burning the FBI and CIA in effigy, lets turn this horrific deed into a wake up call. We are not invulnerable. There are weak links in our armor. I only hope that the upcoming intelligence committee hearings can be constructive and find ways to improve our anti-terrorism measures. Unfortunately I suspect it will only be a public show, with politicians doing some head hunting, finding a scapegoat and blaming the whole mess on one or two unfortunate soles.

To me that's sort of like firing the baseball manager when his team isn't winning. Hey folks, the general manager put the team together. The scouts told the GM who to draft. The ownership tied the purse strings and prevent the GM from signing that big free agent. The coaches may be working on their own agenda, thinking they can be the next manager. And then there are the players. The manager can't swing the bats for them, catch the grounders or throw the pitches.

What I'm saying is it's a team game and every little piece has to be working perfectly to win the World Series. If I was a betting man, I would take our CIA and FBI over any other intelligence agencies on this planet to win the World Series.


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